Sask Wheat pushing for added transparency in the grain trade in Grain Act review

Last month, the federal government announced it was launching consultations for a full review of the Canada Grain Act.

Producers, grain companies, exporters, and all points of the value chain will have a chance to have their say on what they think should be changed in the act.

Brett Halstead, chair of the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat), joined Shaun Haney on RealAg Radio earlier this week to chat about the commission’s hopes for the future version of the act.

“Number one: We think it’s overdue. It’s time that this happened — it’s been a number of years since it’s been reviewed. It’s been attempted and not completed, so we think it’s very important that this happens,” Halstead explains. “The most important thing we think should happen is that the Canada Grain Commission (CGC) needs to continue to work in farmer’s best interests. I think it’s very important that that role continues in the CGC mandate. We also think it’s important that CGC, as a regulator, isn’t required to work in the best interests of those that are to regulate.”

Amongst those points, Sask Wheat feels the need to continue to protect the policy insurance system for classifications and grading systems, and they think the CGC is in the best sights to provide that oversight.

“The original Grain Commission was set up to provide that protection for farmers to work in their best interests, because they weren’t able to find ways to stick up for themselves, for lack of a better word. There’s access to subject grade and dockage on provisions that are in there. Producer payment protection. Some of these things are important to producers and provide us a certain level of comfort and protection when dealing with our grains,” Halstead says.

Another big point that many are paying attention to with the review of the Canada Grain Act is transparency, and as Halstead says there’s a need for improved data collection and reporting  — and timeliness of the two.

“This is something we think is important, but CGC may potentially have a role. They do collect data now, which is a part of the public goods that they do, as well general quality assurance systems. We also think the government should be providing more funds to the grain commission than they currently are — which is about $6 million, and the public goods portion is estimated at about a $12 million cost,” he says.

Check out the full conversation between Brett Halstead and RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney, below:

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